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Do You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Do You Have Plantar Fasciitis?

Q: The day after walking around New York City, I had terrible pain on the heel of my foot. It was so painful that was hobbling around but the next day I felt fine. Any idea what this was?

A: I always hesitate to make a diagnosis based on a write-in question. There is much to be said about getting a complete history from the patient and doing an exam.

Given this description, I would say that you were most likely experiencing a mild case of plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the connective tissue on the bottom of your foot. This was likely caused by overuse and poor padding in your shoes. Luckily this seemed to have resolved with rest, but the condition can be prolonged and debilitating. Consider this episode a warning sign and make certain that you have shoes that fit and support your feet appropriately.

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at

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Dr. Brent

As an undergraduate, Dr. Brent Ridge majored in public health and environmental science, studying the way the state of the natural environment impacts our health choices. As a physician, he specializes in the field of aging. Send your health questions to Dr. Brent at


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8:49PM PDT on Jun 14, 2009

4:36PM PDT on Apr 15, 2009

If this lasts more than a few days, please go see a podiatrist. Mine was caused by an inherited foot shape that wobbles when I walk. An orthotic completely solved it for one foot, but by the time I saw someone I had grown a spur on my heel that was poking my achilles tendon with every step. It was successfully removed, but if I had seen a doc sooner I probably could have avoided the surgery.

I teach on my feet all day on a poured concrete floor, and crocs have been a lifesaver for me. Ugly, yes, but I don't care. You can even get crocs that accommodate orthotics. Plus, as a teacher I'm not supposed to be "cool" so I save my pretty shoes for when I'm not at school.

7:15PM PDT on Apr 13, 2009

I injured myself while doing sound at a concert. From a seated position I sprung into action changing stage microphones when I hunkered down to plug a mike into the stage snake I felt a sudden snap in my foot. For several months I had plantar fasciitis.

I took this to my massage therapist who instantly identified what was going on. I have to say that when the healing began I started doing mild stretching and flexing my feet, rotating them, stretching my legs and getting massages. I massaged my feet and legs each night and was careful each morning to stretch and massage before jumping out of bed.

I walked on my toes for a while unable to put weight on my heal and slowly I over came the problem. I was painful for a while and then a stiffness.

I used to stand on a curb and let my heal go lower than my toes using my body weight to gently stretch the muscles, Boy did that feel good.

I never got it back and to this day I stretch and flex to keep limber.

1:16PM PDT on Apr 13, 2009

If you can afford it, or if your health insurance covers it (HA!) get a custom made orthotics(sp?) from a podiatrist. If not, like most of us, buy a proper arch support from the drug store. Also, the new Dr. Scholl's pads & supports are magical, and they're quite affordable.

I personally hate the Crocs' looks, and they're too wide for my super narrow feet; but I like their flip flops which have the same bottom without the ugly tops.

7:57AM PDT on Apr 13, 2009

I had this a few years ago and traced it to a new pair of shoes that had uneven insoles in the heel area. Using shoe inserts with cup-shaped heel support healed it up.

7:49AM PDT on Apr 13, 2009

I suffered from plantar fasciitis for years. My routine was taping my foot every day to ease the pain. Then one day a friend of mine gave me a pair of shoes she bought at Payless for about $15. They are croc knock-offs by Airwalk. After wearing them for a few days, the pain was gone. Now I can wear regular shoes anytime I want. If my heal starts to feel even a little sore, I wear my Airwalks and the pain is gone. They are clunky-looking shoes, but I wear them as ofter as I can for pain-free feet.

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